Less than a week after signing, Caps prospect Gersich to make NHL debut

Tarik El-Bashir
NBC Sports Washington

On Wednesday night vs. the Rangers, touted prospect Shane Gersich will make his NHL debut less than a week after leaving college to sign with the Caps.

Gersich is slated to skate on the left side of Washington's third line with Lars Eller and Devante Smith-Pelly.

Gersich, the Caps' fifth round pick in 2014, will become the fifth player to make his NHL debut for the Caps this season, joining Nathan Walker, Christian Djoos, Madison Bowey and Travis Boyd.

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Only Djoos remains on the roster.

"Enjoy it. Just play hockey," Caps Coach Barry Trotz said Wednesday morning, asked what advice he's given to the rookie.

"Don't overthink it systematically," Trotz continued. "Don't overthink it. Just go out and play and work and don't get paralyzed by thinking, ‘I can't make a mistake.' I want to see him play. It's a special moment for him and his family."

Gersich, 21, had an inkling that he was close to getting tapped on Tuesday, based on his linemates in practice.

Following practice, Trotz told him he could call his family and share the good news.

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Dad, Frank, mom, Shar, and older brother, Cade, managed to catch a flight to Washington late Tuesday and will be in attendance Wednesday night at Capital One Arena.

"I'll try to take a nap this afternoon, but we'll see," Gerisch said after the morning skate. "It's a dream come true for me. It's a moment I've been dreaming about my whole life. It's nice to have my family in town to enjoy the experience with me."  

At the University of North Dakota, Gersich posted 43 goals and 34 assists in 117 games. He signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Caps last Friday and immediately joined the team, burning a year on his deal.  

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